Moving Portraits Book Launch (May 11, 2017)

The Scalabrini Migration Center recently launched a new publication titled, Moving Portraits: Life Stories of Children of Migrant and Multicultural Families, edited by Maruja M.B. Asis and Karen Anne S. Liao. The book is one of the knowledge products of The Enable Kids Project which received support from the Toyota Foundation. Featured in the book are 27 life stories of children of migrant and multicultural families in the Philippines, Japan and South Korea. The life stories were written by the children and an international team of authors and contributors. For an online version of the book, click here




A book launch-forum was held on May 11, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. The program began with welcome remarks by SMC Director Fr. Graziano Battistella, an official introduction to “Moving Portraits” by Maruja Asis and an overview of the Enable Kids Project by Karen Liao. A forum that gave space to the voices of different actors followed. Regina Galias of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, Albert Valenciano of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Sr. Noemi Mendoza of Canossa Academy Lipa delivered presentations on programs and services for children of migrants in the Philippines. Min-Seok Kim and Hanna Norimatsu, who authored two stories in the book, shared their reflections on being children of migrant and multicultural backgrounds through video messages shown during the forum. Teatro Akebono, a theater group composed of staff from the Development Action for Women Network and Japanese-Filipino children, gave a special performance during the intermission. Guests and participants shared their experiences and perspectives during the open forum. Copies of the book were later distributed to institutional partners and event participants.SMC would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to all the authors and contributors behind the book project, to those who attended the launch-forum and to those who sent messages of support.


MP Program



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Video messages

Video Message: Minseok Kim (Suga)

Video Message: Minseok Kim (Suga)


Hamamatsu City Exchange Visit and Forum (September 23 – 25, 2016)

The Enable Kids Project team had an enriching exchange visit in Hamamatsu City, Japan from September 23 to 25, 2016. Hamamatsu is an industrial city in Shizuoka Prefecture where large motorcycle companies such as Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha are based. It is also home to companies which manufacture musical instruments, namely Yamaha, Kawai and Roland. In migration terms, Hamamatsu City is distinctive in Japan because it has attracted many migrants, including Nikkeijin (descendants of Japanese migrants) from Latin America, largely those from Brazil. We are pleased to share with you some of the highlights from our visit.


On September 23, the team visited the Hamamatsu Foundation for International Communication and Exchange (HICE) to learn about the organization’s programs that support foreign resident communities and those which promote intercultural initiatives. The latter includes Japanese language education, multilingual consultation and supporting cultural exchange events.

In the afternoon, the team visited Mundo de Alegria, a school established by the Latin American community. The school provides education to the children of Nikkeijin from Latin America following the curriculum in Brazil or Peru so that the children can continue their studies in their parents’ and/or their own home countries should the family decide to return to Brazil or Peru. The team also had a chance to talk to the school principal and some senior high school students who are preparing for exams to enter universities in Japan.

The following day, on September 24, the team attended a children’s athletics festival organized by Shin-ei Land, a nursery school founded by the owner of a manpower company for the children of migrant employees. The school aims to prepare the children to enter Japanese schools. The morning event brought together Brazilian, Japanese and Filipino children and their parents who participated in the games.

Later, at the Nambu Community Center, the team observed the Nihongo classes of Filipino Nagkaisa, a non-profit volunteer organization comprised of Filipino members living in Japan. The organization provides educational and training support for Filipinos living in the country, including Japanese classes for children in elementary and in junior high school. The language classes also offer Filipino children and young people an opportunity to interact with each other.

On September 25, the team held a forum at HICE to share findings on the mapping of child-oriented policies and programs conducted in the three countries. The program included a panel on the initiatives of the Hamamatsu City government and NGOs, and a talk by a Japanese-Filipino youth about his experience of migrating from the Philippines and growing up in Japan. Overall, the forum encouraged conversations among the participants on how to promote a more enabling environment for children of migrant and multicultural families through initiatives and efforts of different stakeholders.

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The Enable Kids Project would like to thank everyone who participated in the exchange visits and final symposium in Hamamatsu City. Special thanks go to Dr. Sachi Takahata and Dr. Itaru Nagasaka for organizing the study visit.


Seoul Exchange Visit (May 15-18, 2016)

The Enable Kids Project is pleased to share photos from a successful exchange visit in Seoul from May 15 to 18, 2016. Many thanks to Dr. Angela Kim for making all the arrangements of the Seoul program and thanks to all partners in Korea for the warm welcome and their cooperation in making the exchange visit a great learning experience.

On May 16 and 17, the project team visited the offices of the Suwon Multicultural Family Support Center and the Danuri Helpline for Women Migrants and Multicultural Families, and met with the heads and staff of each organization for briefings on their programs and services.

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Also on May 17, the team presented preliminary findings of the mapping of policies and programs in the three countries at a symposium in Dongguk University, which was attended by faculty and graduate students of the Department of International and Multicultural Studies. The team is grateful to Dr. Eun-Sook Seo, professor at the department and also Director of the Institute for Multicultural Integration for co-organizing this event. During the symposium, graduate students of the department also presented their research findings about multicultural children in Korea.

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As a final activity, team members and researchers of the IOM Migration Research and Training Centre (IOM-MRTC) had a research exchange on May 18. The forum, titled “Do Migration and Integration Policies Consider Children? A Mapping of Initiatives in South Korea, Japan and the Philippines,” provided a venue for the project team to share findings from the three countries and for IOM-MRTC researchers to share their research on various aspects concerning children of migrant and multicultural families in Korea. The exchange was followed by insightful discussions. Special thanks to Dr. Seori Choi for organizing the forum.


Photo credit: IOM Migration Research & Training Centre


Photo credit: IOM Migration Research & Training Centre


Photo credit: IOM Migration Research & Training Centre


Photo credit: IOM Migration Research & Training Centre

We will be uploading these photos at the Enable Kids Project website ( soon, along with additional content, including specific details about each activity and updated profiles of programs and services.


Manila Exchange Visit (March 28-30, 2016)

From March 28 to 30, 2016, the Enable Kids Project held its first exchange visit in Manila, starting off with a core team meeting at the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC). In attendance were core team members Maruja M.B. Asis and Karen Anne Liao of SMC, Kim Yang Soon from Jeju National University and Itaru Nagasaka of Hiroshima University, as well as representatives from cooperators and partners – Carmelita Nuqui of the Development Action for Women Network, Edmund Ruga of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and Paul Avecilla of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. The meeting covered discussions on the preliminary findings of team members in the three countries, the activities for the exchange visit, and plans for the succeeding exchange visits.


On March 29, the Scalabrini Migration Center organized visits to the offices of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas and the Development Action Network for Women as part of the Enable Kids Project exchange visit in Manila. At the CFO, the team observed a peer counseling session for young emigrants and met with Migrant Education and Integration Division representatives, who presented an overview of the agency’s key programs and services. At the DAWN office, Executive Director Carmelita Nuqui and Arisa Junio discussed their organization’s work in relation to providing support to Japanese-Filipino children and their mothers.

The Enable Kids Project aims to conduct exchange visits to different centers and institutions offering programs and services to children of migrants and multicultural children in the Philippines, Japan and South Korea.


On March 30, the team led by SMC held a conference titled, “Enabling Children in Migration Policies and Programs: Focus on the Philippines, Japan and South Korea” at Ateneo de Manila University. To view the program and the photos from the event, click here.

JFC shares life story at Enable Kids conference

Arisa Junio, 22, is the Research and Advocacy Officer of the Development Action for Women Network. Below is a copy of her written speech about her experiences as a Japanese-Filipino child (JFC), which she delivered at the Enable Kids Project conference held in Ateneo de Manila University on March 30, 2016. 

Arisa Junio (Photo)

Photo courtesy of Arisa Junio

My life revolves around the saying “everything happens for a reason”. Whatever has happened to my life during the 22 years of my existence, I considered every action, decision, and challenge as brick roads towards what I plan for my life. I am honored to be raised by empowered women, who painstakingly endured all hardships to support my sister and my needs. Peculiar as it may sound, but I am delighted of how my life has become; without these detours in my life, I would never learn how to love myself and appreciate life at its fullest.

To start off, let me tell you a love story. There was once an Overseas Filipina Worker (OFW) and a Japanese contractual agent who met in an entertainment club in Takamatsu, Kagawa-ken in 1992. Their relationship blossomed, and in 1993, she found out that she’s pregnant with her first child. On the 15th of January 1994, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl and named her Arisa. Coincidentally that day as well, the Japanese father was scheduled to arrive in Manila. Baby Arisa was lucky to be with her father; however due to unfortunate circumstances, the baby was only able to be with her father for the first two weeks of her life. Upon his return to Japan, the mother kept on calling him, but the number seems to be out of coverage. She was terrified upon recalling what some of her Filipina friends had experienced with their Japanese partners. Until one day, she came to the realization that she and her child had vanished in his life. The man had cut all the potential communications he had with her. The baby, now 22 years old, grew up without having a glimpse and memory of her Japanese father.

While baby Arisa was growing up, she kept on asking questions about her father: on his whereabouts, condition, and even his presence. She was curious on how his father was, how he looked like, what his hobbies were, and much more. She wanted to see him, and to be with him. At the age of four, she became an older sibling to her JFC sister.

While she was growing up, she felt jealous of her classmates during family day celebrations at school. All she has is a mum, grandma, two aunties, and a little sister. She would force to brush-off the fact that she will never experience having a father during her family celebration gatherings at school. Until during her teenage years that she started getting angry both with her mum and dad because of his absence in her life. She oftentimes locked their door and cried, questioning God why her father left her.

Years had passed, and adulthood came. She was already taking up her undergraduate degree in International Studies major in Development Studies, minor in Gender Studies in Miriam College. Her anger changed to understanding of why certain things should happen in one’s life. She may have grown up without having a father figure at home, but she have four strong women who stood both as father and mother to her and her little sister. She was determined to excel at school, to chase her passion, and to follow her dreams. She has also become an advocate of gender equality—fighting all forms of inequality among men and women. She has participated in various activities of her department on empowering women, and was even inspired to write studies that highlighted narratives of women for publication.

It was during her third year in college when she attended the annual Women’s Summit held by the Women and Gender Institute in Miriam College, and came across the parallel discussion on women and migration. Ms. Carmelita G. Nuqui, the Executive Director of the Development Action for Women Network, was talking about the NGO she handles since 1996. The organization tackles cases of Filipino women migrants from Japan and their Japanese-Filipino Children (JFC). This parallel discussion has been an eye-opener to her, and she decided to apply at DAWN as intern. After communicating with their staff, DAWN accepted her to be one of their interns.

During her internship at DAWN, she felt that for the first time in her life, she has found another family outside her real family. She was welcomed by co-JFC, and had fun activities together. She was also able to hear their stories and experiences of bullying at school because of them being JFC. They were given bad impressions in their communities, schools, and even with their own selves. She was also exposed to the realities of her co-JFC. Despite her busy schedule at school, she finds time to share her knowledge and passion to help other JFC by participating in the several activities facilitated by DAWN. In 2014, she spearheaded the review of the Vision, Mission, and Goals of DAWN-JFC for Change, an organization established by DAWN JFC members on August 22, 2010 to capacitate members through activities for self-development.

Furthermore, DAWN has helped her reinforce her notion of women’s empowerment. She was able to write more on the challenges faced by women in fighting for equality and presented her work in postgraduate, international conferences abroad. Her burning passion in promoting feminism ignited with the help of the exposures she had at DAWN.

Currently, she is working as a Research and Advocacy Officer of DAWN. She utilizes her acquired competencies to provide technical assistance, as well as research expertise on issues regarding women and JFC.

The baby, who is now a proud and fearless sister to her younger sister, has become a woman who aims to achieve her goals and dreams without grieving over the absence of her father in her life. With the help of different people surrounding her, she acquired a new and fresh perspective in life—doing the things she love, fighting for what she believes is right, and empowering people around her with pride and dignity.

I am Arisa, and this is my story.